If improving your health and wellbeing is one of your main focuses for 2019, you’re likely careful to eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. But to feel like your best self, you must also be committed to working on your mindset. One lady who has had a huge impact in this area in recent years is Marie Kondo. She was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2015, and currently has a popular show on Netflix. A tidying up expert, the Japanese influencer isn’t just helping people to get their homes in order, but also, to be more productive and full of clarity – because they have less clutter weighing them down.
Kondo’s bestselling book “The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up” came out in 2014 and catapulted her into the limelight. Her belief that the best way to keep a tidy, uncluttered home is to only keep those things which “spark joy”, resonated with people across the globe.
Kondo has always been interested in wrangling mess. She started developing her techniques as a child. “I used to clean my brother and sister’s room,” she explained to the Japan Times. “And I would go to friends’ houses and clean their rooms, too.”
As she got older, her interest in tidying often brought more pain than joy though, as she felt the relentlessness of the task. In her book she wrote, “When I found something not in use I would pounce on it vengefully and throw it in the rubbish. Not surprisingly, I became increasingly irritable and tense and found it impossible to relax in my own home.”
However, when she cottoned on to the idea of thinking about what to keep, rather than what to throw away, things changed. She discovered that when she really asked herself what items brought joy to her life, it was much easier to pare back possessions.
Indeed, Kondo knows cleaning isn’t simply about making aesthetic improvements; it also reflects psychological issues and can be a real mind booster. Her book, therefore, has broad appeal because it offers more than simple cleaning advice. She told the Japan Times, “My book is about more than the technical and mechanical aspects of cleaning: It’s about the emotional and psychological impact cleaning has on our lives.”
When following Kondo’s methods for tidying up, which include tips such as tackling categories of belongings rather than going room by room, people can start to understand more about how they’re leading their lives. In her Japan Times interview Kondo said, “A lot of people agree that tidying is connected to how we live.”
If you’re sick of the stress that comes with clutter, it might be time to ask yourself what you really need, and how you really want to live your life. Rather than working huge hours to pay for lots of “stuff”, perhaps pare back, then concentrate on what sparks joy in your life – not just when it comes to possessions, but also what you do and who you do it with.
On the Goodreads website, Kondo confirms the additional benefits stemming from tidying up. “When you learn to identify what items in your home spark joy in you, you develop skills which can also help you to better assess and determine what else in your life brings you joy.
“Of course, this assessment can also be done in your workspace. You… learn to understand what it feels like inside your body when you recognise joy.
And these skills—we might also call them “senses”—can help you, for example, to identify elements of your job you enjoy, and so you can then emphasise these elements.”
By clearing clutter and focusing on joy, it’s also likely your relationships will change. Kondo stated on Goodreads that, “You can learn enough about identifying joy that you can finally decide that your spouse or partner is not right for you, or you can identify elements of your existing relationship which bring you MORE joy than you had previously realised, and embrace these elements and find a happier life together.”